DSN Spotlight – Sarah Gibson
The role of the diabetes specialist nurse is continually evolving and is crucial in ensuring high-quality diabetes care. Our DSN Spotlight series celebrates the people who work tirelessly in this role, while also finding out what inspires them to keep them wanting to make a significant impact on people with diabetes every day.
Job Title: Diabetes Specialist Nurse
Trust: Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust
Time in position: 17 years
What’s you biggest challenge in diabetes today?
Weight control issues! The nation is still struggling with obesity and this trend has yet to change.
I also think mental health problems in diabetes dominate many people’s lives and there is no agreed national approach to this. Intervention is usually given when someone reaches crisis point. Myself and colleagues have undergone CBT training and other coaching skills training in order to meet the mental health needs of our patients.
What’s been your biggest achievement in diabetes care?
The development of Diabetes Nurse Champions in District Nursing Teams across the county. This has helped reduce insulin errors in the community setting, increased nursing team’s confidence and knowledge in diabetes and reduced potential other diabetes issues.
This is turn has improved patient experience and enable those with more complex diabetes needs, to remain in their own homes (eg. type 1 diabetes and Alzheimer’s).
What would you like to see change in diabetes?
A bigger national drive for type 2 diabetes prevention. This remains the most common cause of diabetes worldwide and the biggest challenge in healthcare. Not enough time is given to this in the broader sense of health in communities. There should be free access to exercise and health programmes for all- not just a few.
There should be a ‘minister for diabetes’ appointed by the government. This would set a precedent to tackle our epidemic!
What’s been the biggest development in the last 10 years?
In type 1 diabetes, this has to be the development of CGM/ Flash glucose monitoring. This has enabled the user to clearly see a much wider picture of glucose variation and link this to daily behaviours.
In type 2 diabetes I think the knowledge regarding the ‘diabetes reversal theory’ has helped, but there’s more work yet to be done. But overall nothing has reduced the numbers of people developing type 2 diabetes.
What is the best way to achieve good health outcomes with your patients?
Working alongside the patient to help them achieve their goals in their health, so I would definitely say collaborative working. The ‘medical model’ in diabetes does not provide the opportunity for patients to think for themselves and make changes which they are able to sustain.